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Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz #1)

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3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,358 Ratings  ·  1,939 Reviews

A hero with an incredible talent...for breaking things. A life-or-death mission...to rescue a bag of sand. A fearsome threat from a powerful secret network...the evil Librarians.

Alcatraz Smedry doesn't seem destined for anything but disaster. On his 13th birthday he receives a bag of sand, which is quickly stolen by the cult of evil Librarians plotting to take over the wo

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Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Scholastic Press
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Avy Tran Sanderson's world is always fascinating. I would read it for the story, but this is by far the worst book/series by this author.
I found the chapter…more
Sanderson's world is always fascinating. I would read it for the story, but this is by far the worst book/series by this author.
I found the chapter intros/monologues downright excruciating. If those do not bother you, I say go ahead.

If you haven't ready any of his other books yet, I would give any of them a try before this series.
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Aaron Toponce This book is probably a bit rough around the edges, compared to the other books in the series. Then again, this is the first book also, so it may be…moreThis book is probably a bit rough around the edges, compared to the other books in the series. Then again, this is the first book also, so it may be that Sanderson is figuring out his style with the series as a whole.

Personally, I really enjoyed it. The magic system are "talents" that a Smedry family member has. When you read about each individual talent, it's quirky, and strange, and just down right awkward. But, Brandon Sanderson does an amazing job incorporating the talent into situations, where you can think "Wow, that actually would work".

The series is written as a first-person autobiography from the PoV of Alcatraz Smedry himself. Alcatraz explains that he's writing under the pseudonym of Brandon Sanderson, to confuse the librarians, but he's the real author. Each chapter begins with Alcatraz babbling about some random topic for a few paragraphs, before telling the story. This can get jarring at times, until you see a pattern. Each beginning chapter babbling actually is foreshadowing for what will happen in the chapter itself, and each babble has an overall theme that gets flushed out in the end of the book. It's rather creative, IMO.

The language style is written for younger audiences, however, so I would recommend reading it to your kids, if you have them. Otherwise, you mind find the book slightly childish. Regardless, it's still very good. There is romance, humor (very good clean humor), conflict, politics, and just good story telling.

Personally, I highly recommend it.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Patrick
Jan 11, 2015 Patrick rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks
For the record: listened to this one on audio.

This book is what you'd expect from Sanderson. Good story. Nice rapid plot. An interesting well-orchestrated cosmology. And a cool magic system that's central to the story.

Two things of special note:

1. Unlike most of Sanderson's other work, this book is aimed at a YA audience. I still enjoyed it. But if you're looking for a grim, 800-page tome, this isn't it.

2. This book is fairly meta, especially for YA. It's first person, but the narrator regula
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Evgeny
Aug 11, 2016 Evgeny rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Meet MC; his name is Al short for Alcatraz (it is not his fault the evil librarians use the most famous names of his dynasty for the most notorious prisons). The book starts with poor guy being tied to a bunch of outdated encyclopedias and is about to be sacrificed (Indiana Jones and the Tempe of Doom way) – say what you want about the evil librarians, but they sure got style.
Temple of Doom

Chronologically it all started innocently enough. Alcatraz was an orphan who was changing foster parents faster than you
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Kyle
Jun 14, 2016 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Think Harry Potter only with evil Librarians but a lot better.

Although it’s obviously written for young readers, it was still entertaining for adults. The story was fast paced and very humorous. The characters are fun and relatable as far possible in this type of story. It’s a quick read and well worth it.

Perfect for kids. I think it would be a great bedtime story that parents could read with their kids. If anyone still does that.

Robin (Bridge Four)
Aug 19, 2016 Robin (Bridge Four) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: EVERYONE...fans of Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling
Buddy Read with Buddies Books and Baubles and the Sandersonitus gang.

Did you know that Librarians were evil??? I’ve always suspected but didn’t know just how deep the conspiracy went until I read this book.

What does a writer do when he needs to get the creative juices going and take a break from one of the many serious tombs he is writing? Well if he is Brandon Sanderson he writes something completely and utterly different and a bit silly and makes fun of himself a little while doing it.
Now, y
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Bookwraiths
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths

The first adventure in the young adult fantasy series Alcatraz The Evil Librarians was one which I and my youngest son read as a bedtime story. As a fan of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Mac Barnett’s Brixton Brothers mysteries, I knew the novel was a can’t miss with the little Bookwraith, and I wasn’t wrong. This fast-paced, funny tale by Brandon Sanderson bringing more than a few smiles to my face and eliciting many a hysterical giggle from my son, w
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
5 of 5 stars at the BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2016/02/22/s...

I’ve been a terrible Brandon Sanderson fan! Seriously, how else to explain for the many years it took me to finally read his Alcatraz series? Mea culpa, it was complete negligence on my part, and I am sorry. But in my own defense, these books do fall a little outside my purview. After all, very rarely do I dip my toes into the Children’s/Middle Grade category, and they did seem far removed from the author’s other work. By
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Mario
Oct 04, 2015 Mario rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, when people try to give you some book with a shiny round award on the cover, be kind and gracious, but tell them you don't read "fantasy," because you prefer stories that are real. Then come back here and continue your research on the cult of evil Librarians who secretly rule the world.


Will it ever come a day when I'll give Brandon Sanderson less than 5 stars? I don't think so.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians was so much fun to read. I think the humor was my favorite part of this book. Th
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Choko
*** 4 ***

A buddy read with the young at heart folks at BB&B!


This sucks!!! I had written a review, I had made it funny and adorable, as well as recommended this book not only to the middle graders for whom it was written, but also to all those who enjoy a fantastical adventure written with such wonderful flare and wit, that you have no choice but fall in love with it and wonder why the heck did you wait so long to get to this brilliant series!!!! I had written it, but somehow it has gotten l
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Helen 2.0
Aug 09, 2016 Helen 2.0 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Helen 2.0 by: Robin (Bridge Four)
5 stars for pure entertainment value. I laughed my ass off reading this book.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is about Alcatraz Smedry, an orphan whose neglectful grandfather lets him wither away in foster homes for the first 13 years of his life (Dumbledore much?). The Smedry family is infamous for the talents that grace each individual member; Alcatraz has an extraordinary talent for breaking things. Because of this talent foster families are quick to give him up, resulting in Alcatraz bei
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Kelly
Feb 17, 2016 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Laugh out Loud entertaining. Must Read!!!
TS Chan
Aug 14, 2016 TS Chan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read with my buddies at BB&B in anticipation of The Dark Talent release on 6th Sept!

Brandon Sanderson can write an instruction manual for a lawnmower and I’ll read it.

I only started reading the Alcatraz series after I’ve ran out of Sanderson's adult and YA books to read, and these books quickly became bite-sized guilty pleasures on account of how hilarious and ridiculous they are.

In the Hushlands—those Librarian-controlled nations such as the United States, Canada, and England—this book
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Twila
I was sort of in a rotten mood earlier today. All I really needed was a good book and Brandon Sanderson (I ALWAYS KNEW that wasn't his real name) didn't disappoint! I felt better after just one chapter. Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians was exactly the type of book I was looking for today. Short, light, and freaking funny!

Alcatraz Smedry reminds me of a young Artemis Fowl, or maybe a sarcastic Percy Jackson - two of my all time favourite characters!

I'd recommend this to everybody, especially the
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Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Aug 10, 2016 Eon ♒Windrunner♒ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only those who breath oxygen.
description

I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again. That is all you need to know.



PS: I once read that this was written for middle grade and then forgot about it because middle grade. Recently I saw it again and realised that I just had to give it a chance because how can you not read everything your favorite author has ever written?

200 odd pages later followed by the sound of a mic drop.

*takes a humble bow

description

Franco  Santos
"It looks... dangerous," I said.
"Well, of course," Bastille said. "It's a library."
Gran libro de Sanderson. Tiene un ritmo rápido, mucho humor y, por supuesto, una trama muy original. En este el autor aborda el verdadero lugar del poder, en dónde reside en realidad, y lo importante que es la información para nuestro comportamiento: cómo todo se reduce a cuán informada está una sociedad o un individuo. Es decir, quien controla la información, maneja al pueblo. Muy interesante planteo de Sanders
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Emma
Aug 09, 2016 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrns, fantasy
If I was a middle grader, this would definitely be a 5 star read! What a funny, surreal and original story! It really is very charming. Evil baddies ( Librarians) and a hilarious cast of heros who have talents that you have never seen before, battle it out in (and I hope this isn't a spoiler!) a library..

Alcatraz the hero of our story talks directly to the reader in a way which is very funny and engaging. As a teacher myself, I also approve entirely of the way in which Sanderson almost tutors th
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Wanda
***Wanda's Summer Carnival of Children's Literature***

Cute, funny, and smart. Add in a coterie of Evil Librarians, plus magical skills acquired through the wearing of lenses (i.e. glasses). Also very meta, in that the author talks directly to the reader. A lot.

Of course, working in libraries, I was predisposed to love this. (Although I shouldn’t—I should be suppressing this work, like a good Evil Librarian).

I would recommend it for children who are dismayed about needing glasses. I think it woul
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Becky
I'm shelving this as "fantasy" because, well... I don't want to call the attention of the Librarians down upon my head. They're mean and will probably try to kill me for letting the cat out of the bag. This book was banned, and for good reason. Hopefully, they'll just look at the shelf tags, and not the actual review. I don't want to be silenced.

Alcatraz Smedry (writing as some "Brandon Sanderson" guy as a cover) tells his story, and quite a story it is. Librarians have been keeping us all in t
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Kathryn
Nov 02, 2008 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a zany and slightly philosophical look at a world ruled by evil Librarians!
We met Brandon Sanderson at a book reading/signing yesterday. Such fun! He seemed very nice and thoroughly excited about his creations. Younger than I'd expected and also very "normal" but fun. Most people were there for his other (adult fantasy) books and the majority of the Q&A revolved around his taking over the "Wheel of Time" series now that its original author has passed away. I think, for this reason, he was extremely excited when we showed up with a copy of "Alcatraz" for him to sign ...more
Sanaa
Feb 17, 2015 Sanaa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-read
[5 Stars] This one is a bit of an acquired taste! I loved it, but beware because this one might annoy you if you are not familiar with Sanderson's sense of humor!
Juan Vorágine
Jul 07, 2016 Juan Vorágine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: julio-16
¿He mencionado ya lo mucho que me gusta Brandon Sanderson? Lo descubrí con la saga The Reckoners (que recomiendo) y desde entonces, quiero leer toda su obra, ya que tiene una maestría incuestionable. Con esta saga, vemos cómo se desenvuelve en la novela juvenil. A través de Alcatraz, un personaje diferente y divertido, se nos adentra en un mundo donde los bibliotecarios son malvados y donde unas gafas pueden ser un gran arma. Original como sí solo.
Leed algo de Sanderson. Es imperdible.

Reseña com
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bookczuk
I'm so bummmed....I've been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it about a year ago. I really wanted to like it because:

1. it's got a great title
2. I've met the author and think he's delightful and a nice guy to boot
3. children's literature is due another winner
4. did I mention I really like the title?
5. the bits I'd read seemed good
6. the concept held promise
7. (I don't really have a seventh reason, but the number 6 seemed icky to end on. Seven has such strength and balance that
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Shannon
Oct 24, 2009 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shannon by: Bekah Truss
Shelves: youngadult
I'm pretty stingy with my star ratings. So does Alcatraz really deserve five stars? It does. It truly does. My husband got this book from the library because we had each read another Brandon Sanderson book (Elantris) and enjoyed it. When he brought it home from the library, I recognized the cover. My 8 year old had read it a few months ago. I wish she had told me then to read it! But I wonder if she really knew what a good book this was...

I loved this book for several reasons:

1) A disarmingly ho
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Duffy Pratt
Jun 26, 2014 Duffy Pratt rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
I was a little disappointed. I love the name of this book, and in my opinion, other Sanderson books aren't too far away from Young Adult, especially the Mistborn series. So I didn't expect as much pandering and condescension as there is here. Mostly, this felt to me like an awkward mash-up of the set-up of Harry Potter, the narration of Lemony Snickett, and the slightly annoying voice of Percy Jackson.

And it felt to me like Sanderson was not comfortable in this vein, and trying too hard, especi
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Maria
I was hooked from the first sentence. Not many books start with "So, there I was, tied to an altar made from outdated encyclopedias, about to get sacrificed to the dark powers by a cult of evil Librarians." I've had several career goals in my life; two of the most enduring have been to be a librarian and to be a Disney villain. This true story (published as young adult fiction to avoid the censors) helped me realize that my dream of combining the two is closer than I thought.

This delightful book
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Kat  Hooper
Mar 13, 2016 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Alcatraz Smedry is a troubled boy. He has no parents and, because he breaks nearly everything he touches, he is regularly being kicked out of his foster homes and transferred to new ones. The only constant adult in his life is his case worker. The bag of sand that Alcatraz receives on his 13th birthday as an inheritance from his dead parents further highlights the fact that nobody ever loved him.

But then a strange man shows up, claims to be his grandfather, and announces that Alcatraz is actuall
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Nathaniel Hardman
Apr 27, 2016 Nathaniel Hardman rated it it was amazing
Wouldn't it be fun if I gave my review entirely by way of comparison to Harry Potter? I thought so too! Here we go.

Category 1 - comedy
This book is much funnier than Harry Potter. The constant editorial interruptions are sometimes exasperating but always funny, and I laughed out-loud several times. Very funny.

Category 2 - characterization
All but the main character in this book are mostly quirky caricatures rather than fully-realized people. Even the main character only sort-of comes into focus
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Kristine
Aug 04, 2013 Kristine rated it it was amazing
The Gwinnette County Public library's copy of "Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians" mysteriously showed up in my mailbox a few days ago. I hadn't ordered it, nor had my husband or anyone else I asked. I started listening as soon as I could (around eruptions of child care) and, by the end of the first disk I was beginning to wonder if I was in store for a visit from Grandpa Smedry.

Turns out a dear friend sent me a copy and didn't let me know it was coming. Still, of any book that could come unex
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Kevin Xu
Jan 27, 2015 Kevin Xu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read
I found the narration a little slow because the main character, who was narrating the book always had to go back and correct himself. But the biggest problem that I have is that there is only two locations in the book, the main character's house and the library, which the fact of getting from point A to point B felt like seconds. Overall this book is like a Disney Channel original movie.

The only reason that I read this book and rated it four stars was because it was written by Brandon Sanderson,
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Sandi
Feb 23, 2012 Sandi rated it did not like it
Shelves: lemmed
I'm reading this out loud to my son. I'm not sure why I'm doing it. Oh yeah, I decided I would start reading first chapters to him to get him interested in books. He wanted to make my reading out loud a nightly tradition. Oh, and this is the first book he wanted me to read. (A friend loaned it to him.) I think the only reason it appealed to him was that the word "Alcatraz" was in the title and he is fascinated by anything that has to do with Alcatraz Island. This book is not about Alcatraz Islan ...more
Ann
Dec 18, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ann by: Katie and Tyler
What an incredibly delightful book!
A fast-paced, easy-to-read, first person account of Alcatraz Smedry, a foster kid who has a knack for breaking things. But we soon learn that this "knack" is really a Talent - a Smedry Talent - and powerful one at that!
Alcatraz's world is turned upside down (or maybe right-side up) when he learns that the world we live in (the world of the Hushlanders) is actually run by evil librarians from the Free Kingdoms (where they know the truth...). Alcatraz must help
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Brandon’s major books for the beginning of 2016 are The Bands of Mourning , the sixth Mistborn novel, and Calamity , the finale of the Reckoners trilogy.

He also released his longest novella yet, Mistborn: Secret History , which explores behind the scenes of the original Mistborn Trilogy and thus is filled with spoilers for those three books; it also has some spoilers for The Bands of Mourning.

B
...more
More about Brandon Sanderson...

Other Books in the Series

Alcatraz (5 books)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones (Alcatraz, #2)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia (Alcatraz, #3)
  • Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens (Alcatraz, #4)
  • The Dark Talent (Alcatraz, #5)

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“You see, that is the sad, sorry, terrible thing about sarcasm.

It's really funny.”
1535 likes
“By now, it is probably very late at night, and you have stayed up to read this book when you should have gone to sleep. If this is the case, then I commend you for falling into my trap. It is a writer's greatest pleasure to hear that someone was kept up until the unholy hours of the morning reading one of his books. It goes back to authors being terrible people who delight in the suffering of others. Plus, we get a kickback from the caffeine industry...” 1261 likes
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